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A Guide for Businesses Sending Employees to Work in Japan


As more and more businesses venture beyond their national borders to tap into overseas markets, Japan, one of the world’s largest economies, naturally becomes a focal point for many. However, for many companies, dispatching employees to work in Japan remains a relatively unfamiliar territory. To address this, we present the International Employee Dispatch Handbook: Japan Edition.


1. Preparation

To ensure a smooth transition for employees dispatched to Japan, businesses need to make the following preparations:

Understanding Japanese Business Culture and Etiquette: Familiarize with the Japanese business culture and etiquette, including aspects like dress code, social distancing, and communication styles, to help employees better adapt to the local work environment and facilitate cross-cultural communication.

Acquainting with the Japanese Business Environment: Understand the Japanese business landscape, including market characteristics, business practices, and industry regulations, to help employees adapt to local work processes and business customs, enhancing work efficiency.

Mastering Basic Japanese: Gaining some basic knowledge of Japanese language, including key vocabulary and phrases, can facilitate better interaction with locals.

Detailed Dispatch Plan: Develop a detailed dispatch plan, including roles, work hours, and accommodation arrangements, to help employees adapt to the local work and living environment, improving dispatch effectiveness and job satisfaction.

Providing Training and Support: Offer relevant training and support, such as language and cross-cultural training, to help them adjust to the local work environment.

Maintaining Open Communication: Keep open lines of communication with employees, providing them with necessary information and support. This helps them stay informed about the company’s developments and policies, boosting work efficiency and satisfaction.

Focusing on Mental Health: Pay attention to employees’ mental health, providing necessary psychological counseling and support to mitigate cross-cultural challenges and stress.

Complying with Legal Regulations: Adhere to Japanese laws and regulations, such as labor and immigration laws, to ensure legal working and living in Japan. Also, stay informed about safety issues, such as natural disasters like earthquakes and typhoons.

Addressing Safety Risks: Provide necessary safety assurances and support, such as emergency plans and evacuation routes, to ensure personal safety.

Determining Compensation and Benefits: Establish fair compensation and benefits for employees, including salary, bonuses, and social insurance.

Handling Insurance Procedures: Process relevant insurance for employees, such as medical and accident insurance.

Building Cooperative Relationships: Establish good cooperative relations with Japanese partners to better understand the local market and business environment, providing better support and assistance to employees.

Developing Emergency Measures: Implement emergency measures, such as responses to sudden illness or accidents, to ensure timely treatment and handling in emergencies.

Providing Cultural Adaptation Support: Offer necessary cultural adaptation support, such as cross-cultural training and psychological counseling, to help them better adapt to the local work environment.

Arranging Accommodation: Arrange accommodations in advance if employees are to work in Japan for an extended period.

Preparing Relevant Documents and Materials: Prepare relevant documents and materials, such as dispatch agreements, labor contracts, and personal employee information.


2. Relevant Legal Regulations

Labor Law: Japanese labor law sets out the basic rights and obligations in employment relationships. Under this law, dispatched employees should have the same rights and treatment as other employees, including guarantees in salary, working hours, holidays, and social insurance. Moreover, the law stipulates employment regulations employers must follow, like providing a safe and healthy work environment and ensuring basic employee welfare.

Labor Contract Law: Japanese labor contract law defines the contractual relationship between employers and employees. Under this law, dispatched employees should sign formal labor contracts with Japanese employers, clarifying both parties’ rights and obligations. Contracts should include terms on job content, remuneration, working hours, and social insurance. Additionally, the law specifies provisions on contract termination and dismissal.

Social Insurance Law: Japanese social insurance law defines the social insurance benefits employees are entitled to during work. According to this law, dispatched employees should have the same social insurance rights as other employees, such as pension, medical, and unemployment insurance. Employers are required to pay relevant social insurance fees as stipulated by law.

Employment Rules: Japanese employment rules set specific behavioral standards and requirements in employment relationships. According to these rules, dispatched employees should adhere to company regulations and requirements, such as attendance, work discipline, and confidentiality obligations. Additionally, employment rules specify procedures and requirements for employee resignation.

Other Laws and Regulations: In addition to the above, other laws and regulations in Japan are relevant to international dispatched employees, such as immigration and business laws, covering visa applications and work permits.


3. Processing Steps

Establishing a Dispatch Plan: Companies should develop a dispatch plan based on work demands and employees’ actual situations.

Selecting Employees: Companies should select suitable employees for dispatch based on work demands and their abilities and experience.

Preparing Dispatch Materials: Employees need to prepare relevant dispatch materials before departure, like passports, visas, and educational certificates. Companies should assist with visa and other necessary procedures.

Arranging Transportation and Accommodation: Companies should arrange transportation and accommodation for employees, ensuring they can smoothly arrive in Japan and settle down. Employees should also be informed about specific arrangements and related information.

Initiating Work: Upon arrival in Japan, employees should start work according to the dispatch plan. Companies need to provide necessary work support and resources to ensure successful completion of tasks.

Monitoring and Evaluation: Companies should monitor and evaluate employees’ work performance, providing necessary support and assistance. Adjustments to the dispatch plan and corresponding rewards or penalties should be made based on performance.

Concluding the Dispatch: After the dispatch period, companies should handle departure procedures for employees and arrange transportation back home. Assistance should also be provided for handing over work and packing personal belongings.

In conclusion, companies dispatching employees to work in Japan need to comply with local laws and regulations and prepare comprehensive preparations and risk control measures. Additionally, companies must strengthen training and management of employees, enhancing their work capability and adaptability to ensure a smooth adaptation to the new work environment and safeguard their legal rights.

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